When I first saw Lords of the Eldar, I was seriously underwhelmed. For three spirit resources, you could give every Noldor character +1 willpower, +1 attack, and +1 defense until the end of the round. But most of them would lack any sort of action advantage, so they’d only be taking advantage of one of those bonuses each.
For comparison purposes, For Gondor! has been around since the core set. For two leadership resources, it would give every Gondor character +1 attack and +1 defense. Sure, it lacked the +1 willpower bonus, but like I said, most characters can only use one of the bonuses, anyway. And For Gondor! actually applied its +1 attack bonus to every single character on the board!
It seems like For Gondor! is the unambiguously superior card, right? Not only is it cheaper, but it comes in a sphere where resources are easiest to come by, and it still confers a global benefit to characters who lack a trait match. If For Gondor! is a card that doesn’t see very much play as it is, how useful could Lords of the Eldar possibly be?
The answer, as ff0x demonstrates in this fellowship, is “very”.
Power of the Noldor
Ever present Lords of the Eldar
3x Elven Jeweler (Escape from Mount Gram)
3x Galdor of the Havens (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
3x Gildor Inglorion (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Lindir (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
3x Sailor of Lune (The Grey Havens)
3x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Narya (The Grey Havens)
3x Song of Travel (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
3x To the Sea, to the Sea! (The Grey Havens)
3x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
3x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Gaining Strength (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Lords of the Eldar (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
3x Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone)
Army of the Eldar
3x Honour Guard (The Wastes of Eriador)
3x Imladris Stargazer (Foundations of Stone)
3x Mithlond Sea-watcher (The Grey Havens)
3x Rivendell Scout (The Three Trials)
3x Trollshaw Scout (Foundations of Stone)
3x Warden of the Havens (The Grey Havens)
3x Watcher of the Bruinen (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Zigil Miner (Khazad-dûm)
3x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
Lords of the Eldar has two unique aspects which on the surface look like negatives. The first is that it can only be played from the discard pile, which means not only do you have to find it, you have to find some way to pitch it before you can use it. The second is that after using it, it gets placed on the bottom of your deck. So even if you wanted to recur it, you couldn’t.
But looking at these features as disadvantages misses the point. Lords of the Eldar must be played from your discard pile? Why, that means it gives you a free trigger of any discard effect of your choosing! Lords of the Eldar goes on the bottom of your deck after playing? Why, that means with some work you can turn it from a card that can’t be recurred to one that recurs itself automatically!
Indeed, with a little bit of creativity, ff0x took a card I was inclined to reflexively dismiss and turned it into something that provided a consistent global boost that dwarfed anything available to any other faction in the game. (And yeah, you bet that pun was intentional.)
Which makes this fellowship, much like the card that inspired it, well worth a second look.